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Old 22nd February 2010, 03:38 PM   #1
Netdewt is offline Netdewt  United States
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Default List of DACs Under $450

I posted this over at AudioKarma. Just thought I'd share it with you all as well.

List of DACs Under $450 - AudioKarma.org Home Audio Stereo Discussion Forums

* * *

I'd like of try making a list of all DACs under $450, and maybe some that are a hair over. This is a pretty ridiculous task, but I am a little OCD. I have to try.

My reason for going with $450 as my magic number, and not something more generic like $500, is because of the Cambridge Audio DAC Magic's is current retail price. Its popularity and good reviews had me sure that I would get one, but I had more research to do.

DIY DACs are included. Anything meant only for portable use has been mostly excluded (i.e. it has only headphone jacks). I am also including USB to Digital Out Converters and Wireless Transports. I expanded the list to include some DACs over $450, but under $1000, just because I ran across them, but I am not actively seeking them out.

Of course, I'm sure this has been done before. There are some lists and some guides out there too. Here goes! Help appreciated. Put in a good word if you own one of these. I'll try to update this with links and prices whenever I have time.

* * *

Under $150
Tianyun Zero (USB, AD1852, headphone, thread)
Firestone Audio Fubar II (USB only, PCM2702, review)
Super Pro 707 (USB, CS4398)
HRT Music Streamer (USB only, PCM1744, review)
Twisted Pear Opus or COD (DIY, WM8741/PCM1794A, thread)
Gigawork (DIY, USB, CS4398, thread)
Toole Audio BantamDAC (DIY, USB only, PCM2702)
Mute Audio GrubDAC (DIY, USB only, WM8524)
AlienDAC (DIY, USB only, PCM2702, PCB, thread)
AMB y1 or y2 (DIY, 3.5mm, USB, WM8501/WM8759, thread)
eBay 8x TDA1543 (DIY, NOS, tube)
DDDAC USB 1543 (DIY, NOS, USB, TDA1543)
Analog Metric TDA1541A kit (DIY, TDA1541A)

Under $250
XiangSheng DAC-01A (tube, USB, headphone, see Grant Fidelity)
Maverick Tube Magic D1 (tube, USB, headphone, AK review)
Aune Mini MK2 (USB, headphone, PCM1793, review)
VALAB (NOS, 8xTDA1543, USB, review, thread 1, thread 2, see PV Fathom)
Pacific Valve Fathom (NOS, 8xTDA1543, USB, see VALAB, a.k.a. Gigalab Moon)
Yulong Crystal DA (USB, headphone, CS4398)
Zhaolu D2.5 (headphone, CS4398)
Blue Circle USB Thingee (USB, headphone)
Firestone Audio Fubar I-O (ADC, USB only, PCM2902)
Firestone Audio Fubar III (USB only, headphone, PCM2702)
Pro-Ject USB Box (USB only)
E-MU 0404 (ADC, USB, headphone, AK4396, review)
Presonus Inspire 1394 (ADC, FW, headphone)
Pop Pulse UII (USB)
Pop Pulse 1796 (USB, PCM1796)
eBay 4x Wolfson (DIY, WM8740)
eBay 2x TDA1541A (DIY, NOS)
eBay 2x AD1865 (DIY, NOS, 2xAD1865)
Edirol UA-25 (ADC, USB, headphone)
eBay 2x AD1865 (DIY, NOS, 2xAD1865)

Under $450
Cambridge Audio DAC Magic (USB, balanced, review 1, review 2, thread)
Grant Fidelity Tube DAC-09 (USB, headphone, tube, see XiangSheng)
Matrix mini-i (USB, headphone, 2x AD1955, review, pg. 29)
Diyeden Musiland MD-10 (USB, headphone, CS4398, review)
Mood Lab Concept (NOS, TDA1543)
Audio gd Compass (USB, headphone, AD1852, thread)
Audio gd DAC 200 (USB, AD1852)
Zhaolu D3 (CS4398)
Zhaolu D3.5 (USB, 2x PCM1738)
Little Dot DAC (USB, balanced, WM8740, product website down, thread)
Beresford TC-7520 (headphone, USB, review, pg. 14)
Beresford TC-7520SE Caiman (headphone, USB, WM8716)
Dugood DAC3W (USB, balanced, AK4394)
Musical Fidelity VDAC (USB, DSD1792, review 1, review 2)
Yulong DAH1 MkII (USB, headphone, review)
LiTe DAC-Ah (NOS, 8x TDA1543, review, pg. 8, thread)
Firestone Audio Fubar IV Plus (USB, headphone, CS4344)
Firestone Audio Spitfire (PCM1793)
Behringer DEQ2496
Behringer SRC2496
HRT Music Streamer + (USB only, PCM1794, review)
KECES DA-151 (USB only, review, thread)
KECES DA-131 (PCM1793)
Devilsound (USB only, PCM2706, review)
MHDT Constantine (+)
Scott Nixon (DIY, tube)
diyparadise Monica (DIY, NOS, sold out)
DDDAC 1543mk2 (DIY, NOS, USB, 24xTDA1543)
EC Designs TDA1543, resistors, superclock (DIY, I2S only, TDA1543)
eBay 4x TDA1541A (DIY, NOS, page, 4xTDA1541A)
Edirol FA-66 (ADC, FW, headphone)

Under $1000
Channel Islands VDA-2 (PCM1794)
Music Hall dac25.2 (USB, tube, PCM1796, review)
Promitheus (TDA1545A, review)
dAck! (NOS)
Moodlab Dice (NOS, USB, TDA1543)
MHDT Paradisea 3 (review)
MHDT Havana
Stello DA100 (USB, balanced)
Benchmark DAC1 (balanced)
Twisted Pear Buffalo (DIY, Sabre, thread)
Audio Note DAC 2.0 (DIY, NOS, tube, AD1865)
K&K RAKK (DIY, PCM1794)
DDDAC 1543mk2 (DIY, NOS, USB, 60xTDA1543)
EC Designs TDA1541A, resistors, superclock (DIY, thread, I2S only, TDA1541A)
ackoDAC (DIY, thread, ESS ES9018 Sabre32)

Possible Used Deals Under $450
Musical Fidelity X-24K

USB to Digital Out Converters Under $450
HA INFO NG COAX
Trends Audio UD-10 (review)
Behringer UCA202
Diyeden Musiland Monitor (thread)
Pop Pulse PC LinkII
M-Audio Transit (review, 3.5mm)
M2Tech HiFace Asynchronous USB
XMOS Asynchronous USB (DIY)
AMB y1 (DIY)
Hagerman Technology HagUSB (DIY)

Wireless Transports Under $450
Apple Airport Express (mini optical)
Logitech Squeezebox Touch
Sonos ZonePlayer 90
DuGood WDDC Wireless USB to SPDIF
Pop Pulse PC Link Wireless

Sources
eBay Store - TAM'S AUDIO: Headphone Amp, DAC Pre-amp, USB Sound Card - Tam's Audio eBay Store
eBay Store - WAI WAI VALVE COMPANY: - Wai Wai Valve Co. eBay Store
eBay Store - DAC: Iphone, Ipod, DIY - Shenzhen eBay Store
eBay Store - Vintage Audio Lab: Audio Cable Parts, Chassis and Associates, Precision Clock Module - Vintage Audio Lab eBay Store (VALAB)
eBay My World - raindrop_hui - Raindrop Hui, eBay listings
eBay My World - zycamaniac - zycamaniac, eBay listings (Keces)
Pacific Valve & Electric Company Home Page - Pacific Valve, Diyeden Musiland, Audio gd, Matrix, Moodlab, XiangSheng, Yulong, LiTe
hifidiy.net - Aune, HifiDIY.net kits
Audio Advisor - DAC Magic, VDAC, HRT
Worldwide Chinese Headphone Amplifier Dealer - Little Dot, Diyeden Musiland, Tianyun Zero, Zhaolu, Matrix, Yulong
diykits - Wai Wai Valve Co.
CryoParts Cryo Treated Audio Parts for DIY, PS Audio, TWag Bulk Wire, TWcu Bulk wire, Furutech Receptacles and AC Plugs - Pop Pulse, HRT, Zhaolu, Music Hall, Super Pro
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Old 22nd February 2010, 06:18 PM   #2
ra7 is offline ra7  United States
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This is absolutely fantastic! Thanks for doing this.
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Old 22nd February 2010, 06:37 PM   #3
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Thread link for the grubDAC (disclaimer, it is my design):

The GrubDAC - Head-Fi: Covering Headphones, Earphones and Portable Audio

Thread link for the BantamDAC:
Comments for my PCM2702 DAC layout? - Head-Fi: Covering Headphones, Earphones and Portable Audio
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Old 22nd February 2010, 06:42 PM   #4
Netdewt is offline Netdewt  United States
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mutter View Post
Thanks, added to the AK list.
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Old 23rd February 2010, 03:58 PM   #5
qusp is offline qusp  Australia
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shortly another sabre ESS9018/12 dac in the under 1000 for a full build, under 400 for just the dac board. well under

the ackodac

and yeah this forum doesnt seem to let you edit a post after a matter of a small amount of time. quite small
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Old 23rd February 2010, 04:27 PM   #6
Netdewt is offline Netdewt  United States
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Quote:
Originally Posted by qusp View Post
shortly another sabre ESS9018/12 dac in the under 1000 for a full build, under 400 for just the dac board. well under

the ackodac

and yeah this forum doesnt seem to let you edit a post after a matter of a small amount of time. quite small
Thanks,
I guess I will just have to make my changes to the list on the AK thread, unless a moderator has the power to make my first post in this thread editable.
Makes it easier for me anyways.
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Old 23rd February 2010, 05:04 PM   #7
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I have Edirol UA-25 and FA-66 both <$350 that haven't made your list.

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Old 23rd February 2010, 05:05 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Netdewt View Post
Thanks,
I guess I will just have to make my changes to the list on the AK thread, unless a moderator has the power to make my first post in this thread editable.
Makes it easier for me anyways.
Just add them in new posts and a mod can come along and add them (with your permission). If we aren't fast enuff, punch the reported post button and poke us.

dave
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Old 24th February 2010, 05:53 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Netdewt View Post
For the mod to add (I've made other small changes, but that's too difficult to detail). How about anything in RED needs to be added?
4 posts transfered. Formatting makes it harder, please leave all the colour, bold, and any other formatting out,

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Old 24th February 2010, 11:25 PM   #10
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The TPA Buffalo is $249.
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